Friday, October 31, 2014

Bluewater Panglao’s Aplaya Restaurant and Bar

I'm still not over with my recent Bohol travel write up, it's just a fitting backdrop to ease your stress away.  Amidst the beauty and glory that is Bohol are hidden gems tucked away from the city's hustle and bustle.   One of which is Bluewater Panglao and I can't help but share all the grandiose experiences from the province.  

To see my hotel review of Bluewater Panglao kindly click on the link below:

The three-day tour I had with my new-found media friends was one that will stay in my memory bank forever.  With the adventure, warm welcome, the serene sights and of course the food that defines the culinary culture of Bohol, the accommodation chosen for us also summed up these things. 

All thanks to Bluewater Panglao for the unparalleled kindness they show to all their resort guests.  Of course the stellar stay were coupled with a gustatory delight from their in house restaurant and bar, Aplaya.

Customer service is superb, as what you can always expect Boholanos to show.  

Though I missed my kitchen and cooking for my family, their in house restaurant didn't fail to whet my cravings - the cravings I had for my Papa's and Lola's dishes since I've been cooking and writing about food.

I had several pleasurable experiences locked in my memory bank, and hopefully I could bring my parents here someday.

Dinner by the beach...

After touring some districts in Bohol, including Carmen, which happens to be the heart of the province (because it geographically lies in the middle of Bohol), we retired for the day with a romantic set up at the beach.  A cordon of light bulbs covered in bamboo tubes with decorative holes gave an obtuse lighting effect.  It was the only spot which wass lighted, except for one hut for the spa and the Aplaya building, about a few meters away from our dining table.

Many memorable and touching moments might have happened here.  Probably the same-weathered night with hidden speakers where a love song being played on while a man braces himself up to declare his love and asking for that ultimate relationship spectacle question, with which answer - I do, expected.  

But for now, we just savored first the hefty dinner that was prepared for us.  The Pumpkin/Squash Soup really prepared our appetite for a unforeseen meat binge.

Another hit among our group is the Grilled Eggplant Salad in Lemon and Bohol local vinegar, with tomatoes and onions.

Fried Rice for dinner?  Why not, as long as it had a couple of crunchy and sinfully delightful Lechon Kawali.

Fried Fish in Sweet and Sour soy based sauce, flavor elevated with ginger and leeks shavings.

Visayan cuisine is as usual highlighted in this dinner, thus Humba and Sinubang Manok with a licorice barbeque sauce.

Another perfectly done "sugba" or "sinugba", a usual dish during fiesta.  The Grilled Pusit made us all gasped and wailed "wow", how can you not!

Of course, a typical Visayan meal course is not complete without a stir-fried vegetables, in this case, Pinakbet. 

Dessert was astounding too.  I was overjoyed when I saw "Ube Halaya", one of my fave native delicacy served on a cassava wafer they call "cabcab".  On the same plate is a mango ball topped Cassava cake.

Buffet Breakfast

I remembered when I was at Camiguin, I had an absolute breakfast quite similar to what I had first at Aplaya - there's a stress there on the word "first", coz I was back many times at the buffet.

Tsikwate (in Camiguin) familiarly known as Visayan hot chocolate, has that distinct dark and rustic chocolatey flavor similar to Bohol's traditional hot chocolate drink, which they call sikwate.

Aside from the hot chocolate, I was also served with their local brew.  But you have to take note though that they have several brews, sourced not only from their locally grown coffee beans.  They also make coffee out of roasted rice and corn.  

Ala Carte Lunch

To see my hotel review of Bluewater Panglao kindly click on the link below:

Aplaya Restaurant and Bar

Address:  Bluewater Rd, Sitio Daurong, 
                Brgy. Danao, Panglao, 6340 Bohol.
Contact Numbers: (038) 416-0702 and (038) 416-0695 to 96
Fax: (038) 416-0697
Manila sales office: Rm. 704, Cityland Herrera Tower, 
                Rufino cor. Valera Sts., Salcedo Village, 
               1227 Makati City, M.M.  
Tel: (632) 817-5751 and (632) 887-1348
Fax: (632) 893-5391

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creature Fest at Resorts World Manila and then some Gustatory Feast at Passion

When you feel you're too old to trick-or-treat, it could feel like all the fun has passed you by.  Although you might spend the day wrangling tiny costumed ghosts and goblins and reminiscing about the good old days, there will come a point when the child in you just wants to break through.   Well, don't fret, Resorts World Manila (RWM), the country’s first and leading tourism and entertainment hub, have something for you and everyone who feel the same.

Resorts World Manila gets into the spirit of Halloween with a Creature Fest exhibit at the ground floor of the Newport Mall until November 2.

They are inviting everyone to drop by to see the most frightening creatures, monsters, warriors, dragons, and a whole lot more for a truly 'spooktacular' experience this Halloween.

Catch a hair-raising display including scale models and busts of famous fiends such as Marvel’s Green Goblin and Venom, Drake and Reaper Maquette from the movie Blade, an Uruk-Hai orc soldier and the legendary Balrog from The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, the Predator, and a life-sized statue of Star Wars’ villain Darth Malgus.

The Holiday Season’s Grandest of Them All

Every year, for many homes and even commercial centers, it seems that Christmas decorations start appearing a little bit earlier,  Christmas music are starting to play even before Thanksgiving. Many people even decorate their Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. Though the question about when the proper time to put up your Christmas tree is irrelevant, what matters most is that we know why we celebrate Christmas season.

For this reason, we make every decorations and merry-making truly meaningful because we know that if Jesus had not been born, we wouldn't have this bounty, peace and joy.  With all that, we can say that, indeed, the season of merrymaking is upon us.  Thus, let me share you one destination that pays tribute to the most wonderful time of the year in a truly grand fashion.

Resorts World Manila (RWM), the country’s pioneering integrated resort, is putting together to launch Grand Fiesta 2014—the biggest and longest annual yuletide celebration in the land since its debut in 2010.

They have been doing this for five years in a row now.  This year, Grand Fiesta 2014 adopts the Festival of Stars theme, with one of the biggest indoor parols serving as a symbol of light and hope for Filipinos during the Christmas season.

The launch of Grand Fiesta 2014 will take place on Friday, November 14 with a massive Christmas Tree and giant parol lighting ceremony at The Plaza in Newport Mall.

Running almost two months long until January 1, 2015, Grand Fiesta promises a slew of exciting offers and thrilling events the whole family can enjoy. Concerts, food extravaganzas, shows, and movie premieres are just a taste of what will be on offer in the days leading up to Christmas and the New Year.

Just like in previous years, Grand Fiesta culminates with a rocking, free of charge New Year’s Eve countdown party at The Plaza in Newport Mall featuring some of the top bands and solo artists in the country today.

Address: Resorts World Manila, Newport Boulevard, 
               Newport City, Pasay, 1309 Metro Manila

Phone:(02) 908 8888

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October is National Pasta Month!

October is National Pasta Month! I didn't really realized, not after I've been seeing my blogger friends post their photos of a pasta brand event.  Well, October isn't over yet, so, grab a fork and twirl!  But first cook your favorite pasta dish first!

My family loooovesss pasta, I can't over-exaggerate enough how we feel whenever we've savored a nicely cooked pasta dish, any pasta dish for that matter.  With that said, I've curated some of my pasta dishes and migrated them from my recipe blog.

Here are some of them:

Spaghetti with Creamy Mushroom and Corned Beef Sauce

So many times we want to eat home-made spaghetti but don't have the complete ingredients to make some.

A Lumpia Like No Other: Smoked Alumahan and Salted-Egg Spring Rolls

YES!   I am so excited sharing this recipe.   I am not only happy my experiment turned out to be a success and my lumpia is delectable, but also my High School friends and I were able to set up a group of food lovers at Facebook.   We named our-selves "Food-Trippers."

So you ask why this lumpia is different.   For one, it is not the typical pork lumpia or lumpiang shanghai.   Let me tell a story first on how I had discovered this.  I was invited to a marketing stint of Alveo.   They have pulled up an event where they had envisioned a community to near perfection, with that they had invited three of the country's celebrated chefs, and with the chefs expertise they created a special menu distinct to the Alveo's products.   To know more about this you may read my other site.   Here is the blog and the link:  Three Different Southern Adventures with ALVEO.

Going back to my lumpia...  Inspired by Chef Florabel Co-Yatco's Smoked Bangus and Salted Egg Spring Rolls, mine was recipe out of what I tasted from that event, since there would be no way I could get grab a copy of Chef Florabel's recipe. 

Smoked Alumahan and Salted-Egg Spring Rolls


2 packs (4 pcs. medium-sized) tinapang Alumahan (smoked Alumahan)
3 salted eggs
1 packet of Rebisco Whole wheat crackers
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small scallion or red onion, chopped
olive oil
spring onions, about 4 stems, chopped
lumpia wrappers

Just like any other lumpia, you cook the filling and fold it in the wrapper and fry.
Anyway here is my version.
1.   Flake or shred the meat of the smoked fish.   Careful of  any fish bones not to mix with the meat.
2.   Removed the shells of the salted-eggs and chop.
3.   Saute garlic, onion on olive oil, once they are cooked, put the flakes and the spring onions.  Remove from fire after 5 minutes, do not overcook or burn the fish flakes.
4.   On a bowl, mix well chopped salted-eggs, the sauted fish flakes, crumbed Rebisco Whole-wheat crackers, and about 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  
5.   Get a tablespoon of the mixture and wrap it with the lumpia wrapper.
6.   Fry till golden brown.
7.  Serve with Mango Salsa or Cucumber salad or atchara.

   For this I guess the best Smoked fish to use is the Boneless Smoked Bangus.   It was hard flaking the ones that have lots of fish bones.   I also have done a Shanghai Spring Roll with Flaked Tuna instead of ground pork.   Yen Arceta, a  friend of mine have made a very nice version of Lumpiang Shanghai, see it here:!/photo.php?fbid=130166267055739&set=a.124657287606637.23306.100001870983884&theater

Thanks for posting that picture Yen, I just hope you are  reading this, this really pushed me 
to blog about this!

Best Food Forward 2014, A Photo Diary

Every year, there are a number of fairs I always look forward to attending.  Most of it are about food, health and where my kids could have a wonderful time with me.  This year is not an exception, so when I knew about the Best Food Forward happening again, I made sure that we could come and take pleasure in what our local food purveyors has in store for us.  

I love going to this event, here is where I find new innovative products that we can always count on for parties, gift-giving ideas and, you know, just to stoke up on some toothsome epicurean delight.

Though I'm used to attending at The Fort Tent, this time they held it at the Rockwell tent.  Compared to last years event, and the first year they had it, it was a bit of tighter in space.  Also, fewer concessionaires were there.  But the activities and food-brimming sampling were enough to satiate every foodies' 

Hawaiin Tuna Sandwich

  What makes the tuna spread special? The usual dry tuna sandwich spread turned Hawaiian!
I bet you've guessed that it has pineapple bits.

To make:

Mix ingredients in a bowl:

1 can of tuna in vegetable oil, medium
1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1/8 cup of diced celery, about 3  9- inch celery strips, the green part only
1/2 cup of crushed pineapple, here, since what I have in my cupboard is a can of pineapple tidbits, I diced it really small
1/2 to 3/4 cup of mayo (Miracle whip is the best to use)
pinches of salt, pepper and curry powder (optional)

Once everything is mixed up, you can use a portion to spread on your breads.
I make jars of this in advance so anytime we would have guests or just want to have a different snack, I just get some out the refrigerator.  I sometimes add chopped nuts, raisins or Parmesan cheese.  You can go wild and add chopped jalapeno or green bell pepper.

More Variations: You can replace tuna with chicken, ham or bacon.  or if you don't have these, cheese will do...Yum Yum!

Akira, The Art of Sushi and Teppanyaki

Eating Japanese got a new modern contemporary look.  It was my first time to try Akira after several branches have already revved up.   Akira, The Art of Sushi & Teppanyaki has four branches metro-wide, one in 2nd Floor Robinsons Magnolia, Burgos Circle, Alphaland Makati Place and the one I visited, East Wing Shangri La Mall. 

Each of the four branches have different themed interior designs.  Shangri La's branch has that minimal yet savoy vibe to it.

Check out the chairs, can you figure out a restaurant who has the same look of the chair?  If you say John and Yoko, then you got it.  Akira apparently belongs to a group of restaurants owned by Marvin Agustin and Ricky Laudico, which includes, Banzai, Sumo Sam, Teddy's Big Burgers and more.  It was even the choice of Senator Chiz Escudera and fiancee Heart Evangelista, for they were there to dine, the time I came to try Akira.

We had this adorb Akira Roll while waiting for the other diners to come.

Though they have a comprehensive Japanese menu to boot, what impressed me was the two teppanyaki tables affixed adjacent with each other where the renowned "Teppanyaki show" was being performed.  

After gorging some pieces of the Kani Sashimi, the Chef clinked his cooking utensils, signaling that a cooking show on an extremely large grill is bound to entertain us all.  Happily seated on the left side of the teppan table, I clapped my hands in silent gesture awaiting for what he is about to do.

Check out my video of his performance and you be the judge.

The performance was just as astonishing, utensils were  flipped in the air, and the balancing act of having the eggs brought in the air a few times and breaking it with the utensil after being caught, oh how about the juggling act of salt an pepper shakers?

I was really entertained, for a first-timer like me, you will really commend the chef for the avant-garde kitchen skill he had shown us, well, it's not everyday you see a chef in front of you and fire ablaze your table, actually it was a teppan grill he lit on fire, but we were all in front.  This is done to sterilize the grill and catches our everyone's attention that the chef is about to start the show, err, cook your teppanyaki.

Not only was he engaging and a funny person, he also knows his ways among the girls.  After stirring the rice and veggies, he made the shape of the heart from it.

We had the Teppanyaki Group Specials which serves up to 5 persons.  The set has Akira Fried Ice, Yasai Itame, shrimps, chicken slices and Japanese Wagyu beef.

As the wagyu beef sizzled, our mouths watered as we waited for everything to be served.  I really needed to come back of course with my kids, so I can have more, for I only got a few pieces, since everyone on our table anticipated the beef.  Every bite was a delight, must I say, it was so tender, juicy and tasty, my jaw was so happy, that I don't need to chew further.

Though I needed to say that the dishes cooked were well-seasoned and just right for my palate.

Here is a plate of chicken slices after being cooked.

The marketing people of Akira was so gracious enough to give us desserts.  Tempura Ice cream ended our fun and utterly entertaining dinner.   Tempura banana complimented so well with the three ice cream flavors.

Shangri-la Plaza Mall

5/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Shaw Blvd cor EDSA
Wack Wack, Mandaluyong
(0932) 861-6125